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August 29, 2007
Eagles looking to continue dominance,
Host Stegemoller Classic Saturday
EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana men's cross country team opens the 2007 season when it hosts the Stegemoller Classic Saturday at the USI Cross Country Course. The women's 4k race begins at 6 p.m., while the men's 6k race starts at 6:30 p.m.
Named after the cross country program's founder (USI Hall of Fame Coach Bill Stegemoller), the Stegemoller Classic features USI, Bellarmine University, Oakland City University, Southeast Missouri State University, and Rend Lake College. Stegemoller, who retired from coaching in 1998, passed away last March following a bout with cancer.
The Screaming Eagles, ranked 20th in the Division II Preseason Poll, enter 2007 in search of their third straight GLVC title and their fourth in the last five years. They are also looking to qualify for the NCAA II Championships for the third straight year after finishing 13th in 2006.
USI is the odds-on favorite to capture the league title as it is loaded at the top of its roster with seniors Paul Jellema (Dyer, Indiana) and Rey Alvarez (Danville, Illinois) as well as junior Tim Sirbek (Hammond, Indiana).
Jellema is a four-time All-American in cross country and track, while Sirbek earned All-America honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last spring. Alvarez was the team's top runner entering the 2006 season before an injury limited him to just one race.
Also returning from USI's 2006 GLVC title run is senior Tristan Mannix (Crothersville, Indiana), junior Robert Roads (Terre Haute, Indiana), and sophomores Brandon Campbell (Portage, Indiana) and Matt Zielske (Elkhart, Indiana).
Mannix was a top-four runner in five meets for USI last year, while Zielske and Campbell each ran top-seven for the Eagles in five meets in 2006. Roads also ran top-seven for the Eagles in three meets as a sophomore in 2006.
The addition of senior Joe King (Alsip, Illinois) and freshmen Andrew Dixon (Petersburg, Indiana) and Justin Kendrick (Ellettsville, Indiana) should provide the Eagles with a lot of competition within the top seven runners.
King, who did not compete in cross country last year, transferred from Saint Joseph's College where he was the Puma's top performer as a junior in 2005. Kendrick was an Indiana state qualifier as a sophomore at Edgewood High School, while Dixon set the school-record in the 5k at Pike Central High School.
Following the Stegemoller Classic, USI travels to West Lafayette, Indiana, to compete in the Indiana Intercollegiate September 14. The GLVC Championships are October 20 in Indianapolis, Indiana, while the NCAA II Great Lakes Region Championships are November 3 in Edwardsville, Illinois. The NCAA II Championships are November 17 in Joplin, Missouri.
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